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Macron’s Tough Migrant Policy Tarnishes Human Touch

Migrants queue outside a facility to apply for asylum,  in Paris, Dec. 21.Migrants queue outside a facility to apply for asylum,  in Paris, Dec. 21.

It’s getting colder and colder, the clock is ticking and regional authorities are scrambling to meet President Emmanuel Macron’s deadline: get migrants off France’s streets and out of forest hideouts by year’s end.

That won’t likely happen, and Macron’s government is now tightening the screws: ramping up expulsions, raising pressure on economic migrants and allowing divisive ID checks in emergency shelters, AP reported.

Critics contend that Macron’s increasingly tough policy on migrants — though wrapped in a cloak of goodwill — contradicts his image as a humanist who defeated an anti-immigrant populist for the presidency, and has crossed a line passed by no other president in the land that prides itself as the cradle of human rights.

 “Living in the street. Living in a tent. Sometimes you get food. Sometimes you not get food,” said Samsoor Rasooli, a 25-year-old Afghan standing in line since 6 am to apply for asylum at a Paris facility, where some spend the night on the sidewalk, strewn with filth, to keep their place. The door closed at mid-day, the 100 places allotted that day for applicants filled.

“It’s winter. I can’t sleep in the street,” Rasooli said.

At home, Interior Minister Gerard Collomb has ordered prefects, regional representatives of the state, to crack down on illegal immigration, “act quickly” to expel those who fail to gain asylum and report results within weeks, according to a November order cited by the newspaper Le Monde.

In a first, a lawmaker from Macron’s young party broke ranks last week with critical remarks about the direction the country is taking on the immigration issue.

“All foreigners in France are not terrorists. All foreigners in France are not indelicate social aid fraudsters,” said Sonia Krimi, to the applause of the opposition.

Even far-right leader Marine Le Pen, defeated by Macron in the May presidential race, sees the direction the government is taking as a “political victory” for her anti-immigration National Front party.

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